Serial fraudster on run for two years
Published 07/05/2013 | 04:20
Police are under pressure to explain why a serial fraudster has managed to evade capture for more than two years.
Celia Julia Holmes (61) has 20-plus convictions for fraud totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds and is currently on the run, having absconded from police investigating the fraud of £18,000.
Holmes – believed to have moved to Northern Ireland from America – was due to answer two charges of fraud by misrepresentation and was on court bail. But when she failed to turn up to court in Newtownards in January 2011 an arrest warrant was issued.
Her most recent address was a property in Ballynahinch, but police say she may be hiding in the Republic, with the last reported sighting of Holmes in Galway. However, they have said she could be in one of a number of places.
She is 5ft 5ins tall with blue eyes and has been known to change hair colour and style.
Holmes has a lengthy record of fraud.
In 2009 she pleaded guilty at Strabane Crown Court to 22 charges of fraudulent activity and was jailed for 21 months.
She was convicted of swindling businesses in Tyrone and Antrim.
The most serious of the charges was making a false representation to the value of £1m to purchase a beauty treatment clinic.
Holmes was also accused of attempting to deceive several businesses in west Tyrone out of tens of thousands of pounds. She was further charged with several acts of deception in the Co Antrim area over a period of 18 months.
Strangford MLA Kieran McCarthy described Holmes' long evasion of police as "bizarre".
"It seems odd she has been able to escape the law for so long," the Alliance man said.
"The people affected are requiring justice and the powers that be in Northern Ireland have a duty to ensure that is meted out."
Anyone who has been in contact with Holmes, or thinks they may know where she is, is asked to contact CID at Bangor PSNI station on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.